Judges 7:2

Hebrew Bible

1 Jerub Baal (that is, Gideon) and his men got up the next morning and camped near the spring of Harod. The Midianites were camped north of them near the hill of Moreh in the valley. 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you. Israel might brag, ‘Our own strength has delivered us.’ 3 Now, announce to the men, ‘Whoever is shaking with fear may turn around and leave Mount Gilead.’” Twenty-two thousand men went home; 10,000 remained.

1 Maccabees 3:19


17 But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas, "How can we, few as we are, fight against so great and so strong a multitude? And we are faint, for we have eaten nothing today." 18 Judas replied, "It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few. 19 It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven. 20 They come against us in great insolence and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us;

 Notes and References

"... The tale found in Judges 7 is famous for twice reducing the number of Gideon’s military forces (from 32,000 to 10,000, and then to 300) that were to face the already overwhelming 135,000 Midianite troops (Judges 8:10). The reason given is explicit: “lest Israel claim for themselves the glory due to [Yahweh]” by asserting that they achieved military victory through their own machinations (Judges 7:2). With the odds set outlandishly against them (450 to 1), only Yahweh could receive the glory. A similar notion is found elsewhere in the Deuteronomistic History when we read of Jonathan instructing his armor bearer that “nothing can hinder Yahweh from a military conquest, by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6). To prove the point, the narrative has the two lonely underdogs defeat ten times as many Philistine solders. The panic that results throughout the Philistine garrison - together with the earth quaking is divinely caused (1 Samuel 14:15). P. Kyle McCarter notes how such a tradition lived on in the history of the Maccabees, where we “read almost like a midrash” the following comment: “And Judas said: ‘It is easy for many to be overpowered by a few; nor is it different before Heaven to save by many or by few! For not on the size of the army does victory in battle depend: rather it is from Heaven that strength comes!’” (1 Maccabees 3:18– 19) ..."

Lewis, Theodore J. The Origin and Character of God: Ancient Israelite Religion through the Lens of Divinity (p. 465) Oxford University Press, 2020

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